Why You Didn’t Get Everything Done Last Year and How to Change That

The new year brings with it hope for the future but also a little guilt as well. Guilt because we look back at the previous year and think “oh I didn’t get to do as much as I set out to do.”

It happens and it’s disappointing.  And nothing reminds us more of this than looking at that unfulfilled bucket list.  Or starting yet another day with the best of intentions only to get sucked into your old roommate’s vacation photos on Facebook and then getting nothing done. We all promise ourselves that next year will be different.

However that’s quite statistically unlikely, given that only 8% of people achieve their resolutions!

So how do you break out of the vicious cycle? It’s all starts with how you make these goals. Here’ are the steps you need to finally cross off some of the most difficult tasks on your list!

Imagine next year’s Christmas letter – Every year people will send out Christmas letters detailingall the exciting trips they’ve been on t and all their new jobs/houses/kids/etc.  Whether or not you regularly write one of these, productivity guru and author Laura Vanderkam explains in her TED talk about  time management how you can use them to focus your goals. Laura suggests you imagine what you would write on next year’s letter today.  That vision includes the 3-5 key things that would have to happen for it to be a successful year. Once you have picked those things you have goals for the next year – now you just need an action plan.

Prioritize – Once you’ve picked your goals you don’t need to roar ahead, all guns blazing trying to achieve everything at once. Write out the steps you will need to take to achieve each goal and create a priority list of what is more urgent. Things that need to be started on right away, like training for a marathon, take top priority. You will need to start carving out time in your calendar for training and book your place in the race. Less important things like cleaning out the garage can wait until a later date (but this doesn’t mean you should ignore them altogether!) For an easy way to figure out how to prioritize your new goals, sign up for the FREE PDF I created for you called “Prioritize Like a Pro.”

Find the why – I wrote recently about a talk Julie Morgenstern gave, where she explained how she always used to hoard cookbooks.  And she couldn’t throw them away until she understood why she kept them. The reason — she kept them because they represented the mother she wanted to be. (Isn’t that heartbreaking?)  Similarly you can’t successfully do-over your goals from last year until you understand why you failed. Perhaps they were too big, or you didn’t give yourself enough time to do any of them or any research that would have helped. Sometimes you have to realize that maybe you won’t ever do it and toss the goal all together. We’re not all perfect, sometimes you have to let go of those goals you’ve never quite gotten around to and be OK with it. I, for instance will never learn to speak French. That’s one goal checked off by default!

What are some of your goals for 2017?

Don’t Waste Your Sunday

I love Sundays! There’s so many things you can do with this final day (or first depending on how you look at it) in the week. You can catch up on errands and chores, relax with a bottle of wine and Netflix or get some much-needed sleep. The only problem with Sundays is that they feel really, really short!

It’s fairly normal to get to 9pm and look back and wonder where the day has gone. This can sometimes lead to “Sunday Evening Bum Out”. It can really set you off on the wrong foot for the start of the week.

Here are some ways to make sure you get the most out of this day so you can start on Monday feeling refreshed!

Plan your Monday on Friday – As tempting as it is to rush out of the office as soon as you can on a Friday – it might be worth to take a little bit of extra time to plan out your Monday. I like to make an action plan all the things I have to do so I can hit the ground running when I get into the office. It’s also smart to get your desk space and your email inbox tidy as well. Now you can relax all weekend knowing that your Monday will run smoothly. Read more

A Trick to Make Traveling So Much Simpler

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Jay and I at the Colosseum.

I’m feeling refreshed and reinvigorated after returning from Italy and Switzerland last week with Jay and a few of our friends. Jay and I went to Rome on our own — taking a tour inside the Colosseum and the Roman Forum plus having our favorite pizza in the world at Baffetto.

We also ate our way through through the Testaccio neighborhood.If you go to Rome definitely take a food tour with Eating Italy Tours — it was a highlight. And I’ve recently had to follow a gluten free diet as a complication of my appendix rupture and they were so sweet and accommodating about it!

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Eating my favorite pizza at Baffetto.

Then we were off for Geneva to meet up with our traveling friends Peter & Nicole and Nancy. We hopped in an SUV and drove an hour to Montreaux for the 50th annual Jazz Festival there.

The jazz festival was lots of fun with wonderful gourmet food, wine and lots of cool music. The town of Montreaux itself is really adorable with lots of shops and restaurants. Plus it’s right on a lake so the views are amazing. A note if you’re ever in Switzerland – it’s super expensive. Think 35 dollar cheeseburgers and 15 glasses of wine (and the pours are miniscule.)

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In the adorable town of Montreaux, Switzerland.

Off to Lake Como from there with a 4 hour drive through the Swiss Alps. Such a cool experience to drive through nearly untouched mountainsides. We saw snow capped mountains and lots of animals on our twisty travel. Those roads are all over the place and obviously very high up. It was a bit unnerving at times but we made it through with good music and snacks!

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The beautiful Lake Como!

We stayed in a small town called Varenna and absolutely loved it. It was so charming and picturesque. We were in love. We stayed at a villa called Casa Stacy and I highly recommend it. Not only did Stacy make sure we had everything we needed but she also hooked us up with some fun excursions. We went on a boat tour of the entire lake and had a private wine tasting that was amazing.

On a boat with our friends Peter and Nicole

On a boat with our friends Peter and Nicole.

Then it was off to finish the trip in Milan where we got a full tour of the city and got to see The Last Supper thanks to Milan Day Tours. It’s so interesting to see ancient art up close. When I saw the Mona Lisa I was a bit underwhelmed because it’s so tiny.  Not like you’d expect.  But this piece by Leonardo di vinci is huge. It takes up an entire wall and I thought it was in very good shape. We learned all about the restoration and history. I’m glad we did that tour.

My vacation was full of amazing food.

My vacation was full of amazing food.

Trick to Make Air Travel More Bearable

Our travels throughout Italy and Switzerland went off without a hitch. Air travel is usually the biggest headache for me when I’m on vacation.  But here’s the trick I promised — get Global Entry. It’s amazing how much time you save.

Global Entry gives you several benefits for 5 years and a $100 price tag. First you are eligible for TSA Precheck within the United States.  That means you get to basically skip the line at security, keep your laptop in it’s bad and forego taking off your shoes and sweaters.

Then when you travel internationally there’s another perk – you get VIP treatment when you return home and go through customs.

We just had to scan our passports and fingerprints. We got a printed pass and brought it to the customs officer.  It took us about 7 minutes to do this.  So from the time we landed to the time we were in a taxi at JFK heading home — just 37 minutes went by. That is a far cry from the usual experience we have when coming home internationally.

Other than the cost — the other catch is that you have to go for an in person interview to get access to Global Entry. It’s a pain to carve out the time in your calendar – I totally get that. But I have to tell you – not having to wait in line and prolong an already long trip was key for me. I’ve been trying to mitigate stress in my life and this is definitely one way to do it while traveling.
If you go for Global Entry let me know how your experience is. I’m giving mine two thumbs up!

Free Up Time Now For a Fabulous Summer

summer-still-life-783347_640The days are starting to get longer, the weather’s a bit warmer – summer is on it’s way! I always love summer not just because of of the vacations, slower pace and sunshine — but I’m a summer baby.  My birthday is in the summer so it’s always a fun time.  

Are you ready for the summer? If you want to make sure you have the best summer possible you need to start planning now! I know it sounds ridiculous but I’m a firm believer in planning for vacations, events and fun in advance. It’s why I start my Christmas shopping in August!

Here’s how to guarantee that you have a fantastic Summer 2016! Read more

Productivity Tidbits I Picked Up on Vacation

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Paula & Jay in Puerto Rico

I have a tendency to always feel like I should be doing something…at all times.

“Isn’t there an email I can write back to?”

“I must have an article I’ve been meaning to read around here somewhere.”  

“Oh I’ll just straighten up my desk a bit — I have a few minutes.”  

This is the ongoing dialogue in my head most days.

Even on vacation.

I recently went to Puerto Rico with my hubby for some much-needed rest and relaxation.  I’d been having a bit of an overload beforehand and feeling like I needed to cut myself off from networking and being a social butterfly.  So it came at the perfect time.  We visited the resort where we got married almost 7 years ago so it was nice to be back in a place we hold so close to our hearts.

Typically I’d be in a bit of an anxious mode thinking I’m wasting time laying on the beach (I know, it’s kind of crazy) and not writing blog posts, guest posts for websites or brainstorming something!   Read more